AN exhibition about poet Hugh MacDiarmid has opened amid fears he has begun to be written out of cultural and political history.

It features new poems and paintings which shed light on MacDiarmid, who is regarded as the greatest Scottish poet of the 20th century and recognised internationally.

However, poet Alan Riach, professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, said MacDiarmid, along with RB Cunninghame Graham (below), were in danger of being forgotten.

The National: Nationalist Party Demonstration. .The annual Bannockburn Day Demonstration held by the Scottish Nationalist Party took place in the Kings Park, Stirling, on Saturday. photo shows-- R.B Cunninghame Graham, the well known author, addressing the gathering..

“They have begun to be written out of cultural and political history, but they are absolutely central,” said Riach.

He added that it could be because both were “really awkward figures”.

“MacDiarmid backed every horse that ran although without him we wouldn’t have a Scottish Parliament today,” said Riach. “He wanted on his tombstone ‘a disgrace to the community’ and, as Seamus Heaney pointed out, he gave his enemies a lot to work with. But he is a great poet in world literature.”

READ MORE: Alan Riach: Hugh MacDiarmid and the Brownsbank years

The exhibition is in Biggar, where MacDiarmid lived along with his wife, Valda, from 1951 until his death in 1978. It brings together portraits by acclaimed artists Alexander Moffat and Ruth Nicol along with new poems by Riach, giving an insight into the couple’s life in a small cottage which initially had no running water or indoor toilet.

The National: Alan Riach byline pics for The National..He is at Glasgow University where he works...Photograph by Martin Shields .Tel 07572 PAYABLE FOR REPRO USE.NB -This image is not to be distributed without the prior consent of

Professor Alan Riach

Ditches for drains for some amenities were later dug by members of the Young Communist League and students from Edinburgh University led by Alex McCrindle – who became an actor with a part in Star Wars and is credited as the first to utter the famous words “may the Force be with you”.

Other visitors to the cottage included beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and the exhibition gives an insight into MacDiarmid’s links with luminaries like Hamish Henderson, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ronald Stevenson, as well as his domestic life with Valda.

A book has been produced to go along with the exhibition at Biggar Museum, and there are also public talks scheduled on October 23 and November 6.

“The exhibition shows him as a human being, a husband with his wife, but is also about the cottage itself which was a cradle, a shelter for creativity and thinking and writing,” said Riach.

“You could think of that period and MacDiarmid in that time as dull, grey and grim and seriously depressing because of the poverty but when you see this it is full of colour.”